Yesterday, all-pro defensive lineman Cam Heyward didn't seem to be optimistic that he and the Steelers could come to a contract agreement by September 14th.
“You’ve got to take two to tango. I want to be here. We’ll have to see what happens. We have a couple more weeks before the season. All I can focus on is what I can control, and we’ll leave it at that.”
Something could still get done before the season. Joe Haden and Stephon Tuitt have recently signed contracts in September.
I’m suggesting that, if push comes to shove, the Steelers bail on their longstanding policy and negotiate in-season w/ Cam Heyward. It’s the perfect time, and he’s the perfect candidate.
When circumstances change, policy should change.
The Steelers hadn’t traded a first round pick since the Lyndon Johnson administration. Last year, they did. The player they were trading for was special. Minkah Fitzpatrick rewarded the Steelers faith in him by becoming an all-pro in his second NFL season.
For Cam Heyward, the Steelers should consider making an exception to their in-season negotiation rule.
I’d imagine that the longer we go into the season, teams will get more clarity on the future of the salary cap. It could be as low as 175 million dollars next year. Heyward is going to command quite the payday and that could prove challenging if the salary cap is in disarray.
Consider the player. Cam Heyward is dominant. Yesterday, former NFL scout Matt Williamson told me that Heyward is top-five in the league at his position and it’s arguable that he was the second best defensive lineman in the NFL last year.
Consider the man. Cam Heyward is among the most beloved players in the Steelers locker room. He’s a leader and the heart and soul of the defense.
If anybody could compartmentalize the contract negotiations, not make a stink, and play at a high level, it’s Cam Heyward.